Roasted Grouper, Acorn Squash, Rapini, Tapenade

Acorn Squash Puree

  • 4 acorn squash, split lengthwise and de-seeded

  • ¼ cup butter

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 Tbsp Tupelo honey

  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme, chopped

  • 4 fl oz heavy cream

  • 2 tsp kosher salt

  • 1 tsp black pepper, ground

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

  2. In a small sauté pan over medium-high heat, melt butter until it begins to brown. Remove from heat and add garlic, thyme and honey.

  3. Place the squash, skin side down on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Season with salt. Pour butter-honey mix evenly over all halves and rub into the squash, coating well.

  4. Roast the squash until tender (about 1 hour). Squash is ready when a butter knife easily cuts through the center.  

  5. Remove from oven, and cool on sheet pan to room temperature.

  6. When cool enough to handle, use a spoon to separate the flesh from skin. Set aside in a bowl and discard skins.

  7. Meanwhile, in a 1 qt saucepot over medium heat, bring cream to a simmer. While squash is still warm, add squash and half of cream in a blender and mix until incorporated. Blend until smooth (about 1 minute). If squash puree seems to thick add remaining cream.

  8. Push through a fine mesh sieve into a 1 qt stock pot. Cover and keep warm over low heat until ready to serve.

Sautéed Rapini

  • 1 lb rapini (broccoli rabe)

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • ½ tsp kosher salt

  • 1 tsp chili flakes (optional)

  1. In an 8 qt stockpot over high heat, add 1 gallon of cold salted water (about 1 tsp kosher salt per quart of cold water) and bring to a boil.

  2. Add rapini, blanching it for about 2 minutes. Drain and quickly submerge in an ice bath. Once cooled, drain and store over paper towels to dry excess liquid.

  3. Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, add olive oil, garlic and chili flakes. Sauté until fragrant (about 30 seconds). Add rapini and toss until heated through and tender (about 2 minutes).

Pine Nut and Olive Tapenade

  • 1 cup Kalamata Olives, pitted and quartered

  • ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted

  • ¼ cup cherry tomatoes, halved

  • 3 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

  • 1 tsp cumin, ground

  • ½ tsp chili flakes

  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

  1. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together lemon juice, cumin and chili flakes. Add remaining ingredients and toss with dressing.

  2. Store in a plastic container and refrigerate. Make at least one hour ahead to allow flavors to develop. Season to taste with lemon juice, chili flakes and cumin.

Pan-Seared Red Grouper

  • 8 - 4 oz Red Grouper fillets

  • 2 fl oz clarified butter

  • 4 Tbsp butter

  • 8 tsp kosher salt

  • 4 tsp black pepper, ground

  • 3 sprigs of thyme

  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed

  1. Season fillets evenly on all sides.

  2. In a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, add clarified butter (it should be very hot and near smoking). Sear filets for about 3-4 minutes on each side to cook through.

  3. In a large cast iron skillet over high heat, add clarified butter. Before searing, butter should be very hot and near smoking. Sear fillets for about 3-4 minutes on each side.  

To baste fillets in brown butter, flip and move the fish to the rear of the pan. Tilt the skillet slightly towards you and increase heat to high. Add butter, thyme and garlic to the juices collected at the bottom of the pan. Let butter cook until browned (about 10 seconds) and using a metal spoon, quickly baste the top of the fillets for about 30 seconds. Remove from skillet and let rest in a warm location for 1 minute before serving.


  • Olive Pine Nut Tapenade

  • Acorn Squash Puree

  • Sautéed Rapini

  • Pan-Seared Red Grouper

Place 3 Tbsp of Acorn Squash Puree in center of 8 warmed serving plates. Pushing out (from center) create a circle covering the plate. Add 3 pieces of Sautéed Rapini at center of Acorn Squash Puree facing out. Lay Pan-Seared Red Grouper Filet on top of rapini and finish with 2 Tbsp of Olive-Pine Nut Tapenade.

John Minas